Video: In snowboardcross, Lindsey is not ‘lucky’

NBC Universal Anchors and Correspondents
By Dennis Murphy Correspondent
NBC News
updated 2/22/2006 3:46:57 PM ET 2006-02-22T20:46:57

What's a cute Goldilocks like Lindsey Jacobellis doing in a cut-throat race like snowboardcross — a 50-mile-per-hour roller derby on snow complete with jumping and wrecking? The meek need not apply for the sport.

America's dominant woman in this slightly insane new event is known as "Lucky Lindsey." But luck has nothing to do with Jacobellis becoming the two-time world champion.

She says something kicks in when she hears the starting horn and sees the green light.

"Definitely adrenaline," she says, "Aggression… you know what you need to do to get out of the gate, and it's all just automatic."

Lindsey's mom, Anita, can barely watch. 

"I kinda peek," she says, "And I always stay at the bottom of the course and just kind of hope she comes right to me. That's all I want to see, that she gets down safely."

Lindsey's success is a family affair. The family took up snowboarding when a house fire consumed all their skis, boots and poles. They strapped on boards and never looked back.

But as a kid she was the follower, and older brother, Ben, was the teacher. He dared Lindsey to be brave, and cut her no slack for being a girl. 

"At heart, we have competitive spirits," says Ben.

"It made me tougher right off the bat," Lindsey explains. "The guys weren't going to let me win, so I had to be more aggressive."

Her competitive edge took hold in Stratton Mountain, Vt., at Friday night ski school races. Nine-year old Lindsey was the fastest snowboarder — boy or girl. She say it was a thrill to win first-prize — a pair of ski goggles.

If there's no snow, she and Ben board the rural roads near their Connecticut home. These two were raised in the sticks and expected to go outside and play.

And even though she's featured now in a TV commercial, around the house no star-turns are tolerated. She does her chores like everyone else.

Lindsey Jacobellis is a sweet contradiction, a modest girly-girl who still has her stuffed toys, and yet a competitor with the heart of a gladiator.

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